Critter Call Thinking

We now have our roll call for various scenes in the book.  All the people are putting on their hats and boots and forming a nice orderly queue, ready to play their part.

Time for the creatures of this world to make an appearance.  How do these move about?  What makes them unique and interesting?  What will they look like when all their parts are put together?

We look forward to finding out with you.

Think Ink

Technology is great.  There's no argument about that.  It's fantastic full stop (or 'period' if you look to the east for your Atlantic view).  It's truly amazing.  Today they have this device which needs no batteries yet keeps it's image clarity for many hundreds of years and it's hardware never becomes obsolete.  Apparently it's called a 'book' and I think it is something we are going to have consider if we are going to make it in the cut-throat world of children's literature.

To that end we had a minor panic that our old-fashioned digital stuff was going to look pants in print.  You know, all pixelly and depressing.  So in an effort to allay our fears we decided to push the pixels to the paper.  Peering nervously through our hands as we hardly dared to look, the results gradually emerged from our Epson Office BX610FW and...'s fine. 

Now back to work, people, nothing to see here.

Rough Idea

Storyboard Animatic Door Forest

While we make new acquaintances, new little characters to recruit into our world, we thought we would show you a snippet of our early animatic.   An animatic is the the next step on from the storyboard it helps us see how things will be progressively framed by the camera through the stories various scenes.  Think of it as an animated storyboard if you like.  It is still very much not finished in terms of look but helps us make decisions about what might be added to enhance each scene.

The small snippet above represents this frame from our storyboard:

Through the Swampland

Oh my, I think I've taken a turn for the worse.

Oh my, I think I've taken a turn for the worse.

There seems to be a part of every momentous journey when you are forced to slow down and take stock of your surroundings, and I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing.  Stopping and taking a look around you means you have time to re-evaluate whether you really have taking the right path or perhaps back up a little and take a slightly different route.

We have ended up in swampland and have had to stop and work out why we ended up there.  The development of the inhabitants of the world we are creating have not been very forthcoming and we are now in the process of inviting new ones to our land.  Hopefully they won't be so difficult as the last lot.  Creating cool characters is hard!

Character Building Stuff

Would you like some legs with your shoes?

So what happens when you create a whole load of mouths, eyes, ear, noses, heads, hats, glasses etc. and put them together to make lots of characters?  Well the results look a little chaotic but that may not be a bad thing.  Our world is pretty chaotic and so it makes sense that the characters that inhabit it would be too.

Let's see what little characters turn up and then decide if they are welcome to stay.

One of the early arrivals

Not Out of the Woods Yet

So why not start a story in the woods?  There's plenty to see, or not.  Some critters are pretty shy and don't want to just pop their head out of a hole and say "hello there!" straight away.  While we are waiting for them to appear we need to carry on adding trees to our story.  Exactly how many trees does it take to make a forest?  For us it will be just enough to hide what's up ahead.

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It a Set Up

So it stands to reason that you can't have a wonderful children's story with wonderfully funny characters ('cos I make 'em) without wonderfully beautiful places for them to wonder around and get lost in.

We are drawing on Eleanor's past experience in set building and she has been busy constructing fabulous scenery based on our discussions of the storyboards.  As well as constructing the sets in miniature for real, she also places them in the virtual realm of the computer as well.  This is where she can begin to work out what elements are needed where for our camera work and whether we need any more scenery bits to cover certain angles.  We are building each scene up in layers and are finding there are plenty of opportunities to play around with the way the layers interact with each other.  Building the sets for real out of card is so useful when it comes to discussions about what might need to be added or changed.

We're getting really excited about the possibilities!

Onwards and Outwards

So yesterday I spent time drawing out the body parts that will make up the characters that populate our strange little world.  As with everything we touch, this has become slightly more elaborate than we intended.
Whereas some of the main characters body parts are pretty much set, the generic characters parts are interchangeable. 

This, along with the fact that I wanted to create enough parts to have a better hit rate of creating the best characters possible, has meant a lot of parts!  Many heads, many bodies, lots of hats...many many hats.  Still, it's character-building stuff (sorry).

Eleanor has been working on the sets where our characters will reside.  A forest, rolling hills, a fantastic castle, all made out of lots of card bits, scanned into the computer and reconstructed in the digital ether.  It's all looking very promising.

Making a world isn't easy

So we are now a tantalizing three weeks in to our first project as Pivot Pictures and unsurprisingly we are behind schedule.  Although our schedule was a little over optimist in the first place.

We have spent these past weeks story-boarding the twenty-five verse poem that first started life a year ago and has been dusted off and rewritten with much hindsight.  I've always heard that a good writer's tip is to put away what you've written for a month or two so that when you view it again you can do so with fresh eyes and a detached perspective.  That was certainly the case and after showing it to some knowledgeable friends, further rewrites took place.

We are now in the process of constructing the characters and sets for the mini movies that will become the animated illustrations for our book and we are starting to realize just how much work is involved!